The country prides itself for being rich in natural resources. However, as years passed, these resources have been overexploited, leading to their misuse and neglect, with waste pollution reaching our bodies of water. Because of this, many water lilies have grown in such polluted rivers. But we are still fortunate to have people who make use of these waterlilies to create “eco-uling” or eco-friendly alternative charcoal, specifically made from dried and burned waterlilies and bao.
On the show’s May 16 episode, Iba ‘Yan team was able to meet a group of PWDs called “Tree’s A Life” who makes these eco-friendly alternative charcoal. Danilo Aquino, the president of the organization, shared that it was founded in 2018 and its main goals were to save trees and to have more PWDs join their group. Singer and comedienne Kitkat once again joined the Iba ‘Yan team in meeting some of the members of Tree’s A Life. She first got to talk to Relyn Nieva, the co-founder of the organization.
Relyn was able to show Kitkat the process of transforming the waterlilies into alternative charcoal. She also shared that it’s much better to use eco-uling because it produces heat three times more than that of the usual charcoal. She added that for every 1,000 briquettes of eco-uling, we can save a tree. She came from Palawan but in 2011 she flew to Manila where she was able to join the project of the diocese of Pasig called “Pondo ng Bayan.” This was also where she became closer to a group of PWDs. Relyn shared that our fellow Filipino PWDs have a special place in her heart because they helped her overcome her problems in life and motivated her to not give up in life.
Relyn admitted that her married life has been a living nightmare, experiencing physically abuse from her husband. Apart from that, she has been suffering from breast cancer, and up until now, she still couldn’t go to the hospital to have a medical checkup again. What added to Relyn’s problem was the condition of one of her children who has complications also in the breast. Relyn’s youngest daughter also had to stop her studies this year because of their financial incapacity. Because of the pandemic, their income from producing eco-uling were greatly lessened due to many restaurants that stopped operations. From 14 members, Tree’s A Life only has three members now and the rest are just on-call.
Iba ‘Yan helped and supported Relyn as they gave her groceries, cash assistance and had her eldest daughter undergo a medical checkup. In cooperation with Taguig City University, Iba ‘Yan also provided scholarship for Relyn’s youngest daughter so she could finally continue her studies.
Kitkat then met Ofemio Rangel, another member of Tree’s A Life. He showed Kitkat the final procedures in making alternative eco-uling. He originally came from Albay before he went here in Manila. Because of the accident that happened when he was still 22 years old, Ofemio lost a foot. He was driving his tricycle during that time when a truck crashed and hit him. The doctor said that his foot needed to be cut off. And during that time, Ofemio couldn’t accept what happened to him. He became emotional when he said it really changed his life. But he chose to continue move on and get strength from his family, especially from his siblings and his late mother. Iba ‘Yan helped Ofemio as the team pledged to provide him a prosthetic leg in cooperation with Physicians for Peace Walking Free Philippines.
Lastly, Iba ‘Yan gave support to Tree’s A Life as they gave the organization a motorcycle with a sidecar that can help them in delivering the eco-uling. Iba ‘Yan also gave safety gears for the organization’s members. They also provided cash assistance for the maintenance of the machines used by Tree’s A Life.To support the advocacy of Tree’s A Life, and to help the members sell more of their eco-uling, you can visit and contact their Facebook page or contact 09424550734.
Iba ‘Yan airs Sundays 6:30pm on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.